Mens Style Tips: Dress Pants


Without trying to state the obvious, pants are an important part of a man’s life. Dress pants are pants worn for semiformal or for formal occasions. Having a good pair of dress pants can help boost confidence while navigating the concrete jungle, or wherever a smart pair of pants is required. Dress pants don’t need to be a chore to wear or buy, instead, an exciting addition to any man’s wardrobe.

Finding the Right Place to Buy

For men who want good quality, high-end store chains have a large selection of designer dress pants. One advantage with these stores is that employees can help find the dress pants that suit you best. When walking through a mall or a location with many different types of stores, look for a store that caters to a more professional clientele; these stores normally offer less trendy clothes and more classic styles that are appropriate for the office or at a formal event. Large department stores nearly always sell a diverse selection of dress pants. Finding the right store can save time and money—there's no need to go to 10 stores if you can narrow your search down to one.


Dress pants come in different colors; the most basic and useful being black. This color fits all occasions and complements nearly any shirt paired with it. Gray is a useful color to have if you already have a pair or two in black. Gray pairs well with pastel colors and especially purple. Khaki pants are basics as well; they are easily dressed down. However, khaki pants are not as formal and appropriate in some settings as black or gray pants. All three colors flatter any type of skin tone. If you only want to buy one pair, buy black dress pants—they get the most use for the money, and are the base for any formal outfit.


Many pants come in pinstripe; pinstripe is a classic pattern, featuring a fine line on a plain background. Pinstripe pants can come in navy blue with white or gray stripe, black with white or gray stripe, or gray pants with black or burgundy stripes; all three are classic styles that are appropriate in all formal or semiformal occasions. Pinstripe pants, due to the vertical lines, provide a slimming and lengthening effect. Patterns other than pinstripe are best avoided for dress pants.


Dress pants normally come in three styles of cut: slim, straight legged and loose fit. Slim cut pants are designed to be closer to the leg, accentuating a lean frame. Straight leg cuts are classic styles that suit nearly all body types. Loose fit pants are designed for larger men; they fit around large waists and provide room in the thigh area. Cuffs are a personal choice, but are better on taller men. Flat-front pants give a modern look, and suit slim men. Dress pants with a pleated front are a classic style, and suit most men.


Dress pants usually come in wool, cotton or cotton-blend. Lightweight wool dress pants are the traditional choice, and can be worn from fall through spring. Heavy wool dress pants are designed for colder months, as wool is a thick, warm fabric. Heavy wool dress pants are harder to find in the spring/summer months. Cotton pants are perfect in the summer; cotton breathes and is cool to wear. Cotton tends to have a more casual look than wool. Cotton-blend fabrics usually contain a mixture of cotton with polyester or spandex. These blends retain their shape; however, they are not as cool as 100 percent cotton.


Dress pants bought at high-end department stores often come with free tailoring. If you buy pants slightly too long at a store that does not offer free tailoring, most dry cleaners offer alteration services.

Try on Your Options

When shopping for pants, you may need to try several styles, sizes and colors. If a pair of pants doesn't look or feel right, try another—not all pairs suit every person. Keep trying on pants until you find a pair that works for you. Make sure they are comfortable, and that you can move in them. The pants should not be too tight or too loose at any point around your hips or legs. Pant legs can always be shortened, so don't be put off by a pair that fits but that is too long.

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